Buying Guide: Understanding What Makes The Best Mini Metal Lathes & Choosing the Right One for Your Projects

If you’re planning to level up the standards of your metal craft then perhaps it’s time to buy a mini metal lathe. If you've done any sort of research on mini lathes, you'll quickly find out there are a ton of choices available. However, the process of choosing the right lathe - let alone the best mini lathe - can be quite daunting. We feel you… we find our readers often dread buying something new at times because of that “what if I purchase the wrong one?!” feeling. This is exactly the reason why we took the time to do the research for you, and created this buying guide to help you make the right choice. 

Why Choose Mini Metal Lathe

Saves a ton of space

Working in a smaller area is now made possible with mini metal lathes. If you are working with smaller metal projects then there is no need to buy heavy machines that eat up too much space in your work area. Instead, you get to choose a smaller version of it yet still high-quality. One that’s easy to operate and provides satisfactory results.

Work on different materials

Just like the heavier machines, these mini versions can also accommodate brass, steel, aluminum, and even wood. Along with metals, these portable tools can also be used on plastic. Unleash your creativity and work on various materials such as acetal, Delrin, Teflon, nylon, and even plexiglass. Although they are small in size, they have all the power and flexibility you need in order to create useful and artistic projects.

Multi-purpose mini monster

Keep in mind that almost all types of mini machines can remove oxidized residue from metal. And whether you are drilling holes into hardened materials or common metals, these mini monsters are your friend in whatever metalworking endeavors you have. You can even create cylindrical objects and beautiful pieces of jewelry such as rings. So yes, whether that’s small stuff like jewelry, home decor, or anything you can come up with, these tools got you covered.

The Best Mini Metal Lathe of 2019

grizzly g8688 mini metal lathe
BEST IN POWER

Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe

With its 3/4 HP motor, the Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe is considered as one of the most powerful machines in the market today. Users will get to enjoy its variable speed which can reach up to 2500 RPM. This is very easy to operate and at the same time is very reliable for everyday use. However, some professional operators say that it is not that useful for advanced metalworking. Guess it all depends on how ‘advanced’ you are.
It has a 7-inch swing, 2 3/4 inch cross slide travel, 2 1/2 inch tailstock travel, 12-inch distance between centers, and has top quality 20mm spindle bore. Not only is this machine fast and strong, but it is also durable. Expect it to last longer than other machines since it is constructed out of the finest materials.
The Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe is a popular machine among beginners, but know that achieving accurate alignment can be quite difficult for some. Nonetheless, the company behind this is known for providing incredible customer care service. This is the best mini metal lathe you can get if you need all that power. 
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shop fox w1704
Best Easy-to-Use Option

SHOP FOX W1704 Benchtop Lathe

SHOP FOX W1704 is a compact and well-constructed metal lathe perfect for starters and those still experimenting with these kinds of tools. It has a dimension of 6x10 inches, which is a nice small footprint that won't consume too much space in your garage or home shop. It’s also known for producing small but neat details. But what makes it stand out in a crowd of machines is that it has a very easy control mode. It's a great balance of safety features and ease of use.
Be aware though, that this item has received some complaints of malfunctioning. But since it is very easy to use, SHOP FOX W1704 is perfect for beginners. Just be sure the manual is always by your side when using it.
You may also need to note that there are some users who complained of poor packaging. But for one that’s equipped with high-quality 1/5 HP motor with four hex wrenches and chuck-key fuse, no doubt this item is worth buying. You will also be able to save a lot of money on this lathe machine since it includes additional items like an oil cup, socket head wrench, and a top quality double-ended wrench.
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central machinery 7 x 10 precision mini lathe
Best in Efficiency

Central Machinery Precision Mini Lathe

Central Machinery is designed for users who always wanted to experience a smooth working mode. Known for its efficiency, this small lathe has a remarkable automatic feed, a variable speed control knob, chuck guard with micro switch, and an excellent tool post. When it comes to speed, the Central Machinery can go from 0 to 1100 RPM at low speed, and from 0 to 2500 RPM at high speed.
While this has received many favorable comments and reviews from the users because of its precision, design, performance, and efficiency, one of the most common complaints that you will read on the internet is that its spare parts are very difficult to find and replace. But, for individuals who are looking for something that can get the job done, the Central Machinery is definitely recommended. You just need to know a good place that has spare part available, just in case.
Also, this gem is perfect for users who want to be able to do more projects and commit fewer mistakes. It’s really that efficient, folks. But take note that some users complained that it takes some time to disassemble, grease, and tune the machine up before use. Definitely something to keep in mind before purchasing.
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delta industrial variable-speed
Best in Durability

Delta Industrial Variable-Speed Mini Lathe

When it comes to durability, no one else comes close to the Delta Industrial 46-460 Mini Lathe. Its manufacturer made sure that they patented the belt tensioning system, which provides great assistance to transfer maximum power. Because of this, preserving the machine for a much longer period becomes a reality.
It has a maximum power 1 HP and its motor can go up to 1725 RPM. Although small in form and structure, the Delta Industrial 46-460 is strong enough to help you finish various projects. You will also not regret its swing capacity since it can provide up to 12 1/2 inch capacity – the largest in its class. Yet with all these features, some users claimed that the design is not as pleasing ass they with it’d be.
There are also reports that the manufacturer provides poor customer service. But if you are that user who is particular with warranty term, then this machine is for you. What a great way to spend your money in a durable tool that offers an outstanding 5-year warranty.
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erie tools 7 x 14 precision bench top mini metal milling lathe
Best in Flexibility

Erie Tools Precision Benchtop Mini Metal Lathe

Looking for a tool that can do almost everything? The Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Benchto might just be the one for you. It’s that small but terrible thing that can help you drill, cut, and manipulate whatever material you have in your workspace. It doesn’t matter whether you are working on wood, metal, or plastic, this gem can do the job.
The package includes a 5 piece carbide-tipped cutter kit, external and internal chuck jaws, and a top quality chuck key. But even though it is known for its great functionality and flexibility, the Erie Tools can be quite complex to use, especially for new users, so that’s something to keep in mind. If you’re having a hard time operating the machine, then its user manual, which is included in the package, should be of great help.
Apart from helping you create awesome metalwork, this also provides top-notch performance. Not only is it designed with great finesse and precision, but it’s also built to last for many years. But some may get disappointed with how products are packed and delivered. Nonetheless, if it’s ease and flexibility that you are looking for the with this item, you won’t be failed.
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mophorn precision mini lathe
Best for budget spenders

Mophorn Precision Mini Lathe

The Morphorn Metal Mini Lathe is for people who want to join the metalwork club but don’t want to spend too much money. This is definitely the best budget product that you can buy in the market right now. But don’t be deceived by its price because its variable speeds can still go from 50 to 2500 RPM. It might not be as versatile as the others that at a higher price range, but the Morphorn can certainly do its job.
It has a TPI range of 12 to 52 and has great quality chucks with 3 jaws. The package includes a mask, oil can, wrenches, and nylon gears. The problem is, it doesn’t come with any tool bits. And aside from affordability, it is also known for its reliable performance. Although it is a cheaper option, the Mophorn is still made out of top quality materials and components.
Addressing issues with this tool can be time-consuming, though. You need to know that this item ships from China, which means that you will be having a hard time replacing the parts. So before purchasing, be sure you already where to go when in need of replacing its parts.
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bestequip mini metal lathe
Best in Simplicity

BestEquip Mini Metal Lathe

Let’s be honest, lathes in general can be quite intimidating to use, especially if you are a beginner. But with the BestEquip Mini Metal Lathe, doing metalwork should be a breeze. It is a simple machine that is known for its optimal precision. It has a 14-inch distance between centers and a 7-inch swing over bed. It also has a 4-way rotating turret and can work with different types of metal.
It doesn’t matter whether you are an expert or beginner in metalworking, this item should be able to provide all the power you need to complete a project. But its simplicity comes with few disadvantages. Like the fact that it doesn’t do anything special. If you are looking for a machine that can do many things, you may want to keep looking.
On the other hand, if your desire is simplicity, the BestEquip lathe is definitely worth considering. Just know that some of its users complained about poor quality components. You will also hear users who claimed that the motor is bad and that it is not that durable. But then again, if you’re a starter who just want the basics, this item is worth every penny.
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shop fox m1015
Best Control Panel

Shop Fox M1015

The Shop Fox M1015 is the right machine for toolmakers and metalworkers who wanted to create something special without having to worry about the complexity of things. It is known for its convenient control panel that provides easy access to various functions. You can easily make some adjustments because of how the speed dial, rotation selector knob, and clutch knob were installed. Users will also appreciate its auto and manual feed. Although some claimed that it rarely works.
It has an overall dimension of 27-3/4" L x 11-1/2" W x 12" H, which is perfect for small-scale projects. The package includes thread gears, 3-inch three jaw chucks, and some several optional accessories. But if you are planning to produce larger metalwork projects, then it is not a good idea to buy this product. You can count on its precision and features, though.
It is also worth mentioning that this gear is made in an ISO 9001 factory, which should provide you peace of mind knowing that you are buying a quality machine. Although there are some users out there who claimed that the machine has poor quality components. Needless to say, if you are looking for the one with the best control panel out there, then don’t hesitate to purchase this product.
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bestequip 8x16 inch metal lathe
Best in RPM Settings

BestEquip 8x16 Inch Metal Lathe

One of the best-selling metal lathes available today is the BestEquip 8x16. The reason behind its popularity is because it has an incredible RPM setting that offers precise parts and sample processing. This is ideal for use in laboratories, workshops, and even at home. It is a multifunctional automatic tool that provides accurate operation and professional performance.
But because of its remarkable features, this may not be for people who are looking for affordable ways to do metalwork. It can be quite expensive compared to other machines. But then, if you are searching for something that provides very precise thread range and versatile RPM settings, then this is definitely worth every penny.
It is also made out of durable quality materials, which makes it a great tool for people who plan to use the machine more often than usual. You need to be aware, though, that it needs a lot of work out of the box, meaning that you really have to read the user manual carefully in order to make it work properly. Designed by a reputable manufacturer, the BestEquip 8x16 is definitely an excellent machine for both beginner and expert metalworkers.
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orangea metal lathe
Best in Precision

OrangeA Mini Metal Lathe

There are hobbyists out there who are very particular when it comes to adding finite details to their metalwork collection. If you are one of them then the OrangeA Metal Lathe is something you should keep an eye on. It delivers 550W of precise power and performance; threading, cutting, drilling and twisting different kinds of materials should be very easy.
It is a powerful machine that has 1HP and a variable speed of 100 to 2500 RPM. You can also rely on its fully automatic tool that includes spindle speed adjusted by a key change rotary direction, plus enjoy its automatic feed and incredible torque. There are some reports though made by users that the manufacturer does not provide support after purchase.
Even though it only has a single horsepower, this gem can still deliver excellent power with a very small footprint. However, you have to read the user manual carefully in order to maximize its features and functions, which can be tedious. Some users who bought the machine claimed that it can be quite tricky to assemble. But once you are able to make the machine work, everything should work accordingly.
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Conclusion

By carefully reading buying guides like this one, owning the right machine should become more convenient and less stressful. Consider these factors before making any purchase and for sure, you’ll end up with the right machine for you and enjoy whatever metalwork projects or experiment that you intend to do. Always remember how important design and functionality are. Furthermore, knowing how much you should spend and how much you’re willing to adjust.
Different hobbyists have different needs and so you have to ponder what would perfectly fit your lifestyle and metalwork needs. Also, reading reviews and checking out testimonials is highly advised. No product is perfect but with enough research, you will most likely end up purchasing the right one.
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